Before the discovery of oil in the early 20th century, Miri was a quiet fishing village place made up of a few straggling huts by a river. Following the exploratory drilling of a well on a hilltop in 1910, oil was struck. Located on Canada Hill, this was Miri's (and Malaysia's) first oil well - now affectionately dubbed the "Grand Old Lady" - and it remained in production until 1972.
The Miri oil boom was in full swing by 1917, with foreign labour from around the world coming in to support local manpower. And the town gradually developed: in the early 1920s, it already had 40 shop-houses, one English school and one Chinese school. By 1929, Miri had been designated as the administrative centre for the entire Baram region. In the 1960s, oil exploration expanded to encompass offshore operations. When oil production reached 95,000 barrels a day, the Malaysian oil company Petronas Carigali chose the Lutong area as the hub of Miri's oil production activities. Currently Miri City is also the regional hub of operation for Dutch oil company Sarawak Shell Berhad.
The economic boom of the 1980s and early 1990s influenced major changes in Miri: many new suburbs were built; multi-storey commercial complexes and international class hotels were constructed. This period also witnessed a significant growth of the tourism industry, with a rapidly increasing number of tourists from everywhere coming to Miri, which became known as Sarawak's Northern Gateway.
In 2005, Miri officially acquired "City" status, hence becoming the second city - after Kuching - in Sarawak.
- Geographical Position
- Situated at the Northern end of Malaysian sate of Sarawak on the island of Borneo and adjacent to Brunei. Coordinate N004° E113°.
- 977 sq kilometers
- Tropical with distinct rainy season at year end. Temperature averages 27°c with high humidity of over 90%. The annual rainfall is 100 to 150 inches.
- About 278,400, mainly Chinese, Malay, Iban followed by Melanau and minorities like Kayan, Kenyah, Kelabit, Penan, Bidayuh and Kedayan.
- By Pan Borneo highway and direct air links from Kuala Lumpur, Kuching and Kota Kinabalu.
- Bahasa Malaysia, English and Mandarin with numerous local dialects such as Bahasa Sarawak, etc.
Recreation & Relaxation
If you are in the mood for something less energetic and you would rather stroll around casually, there are many parks and beaches around Miri for you to check out.
Luak Bay Esplanade
Only 15 minutes drive from the City centre, this is a great place for your family barbecues, seaside picnics and casual strolls on the sandy beach. There are plenty of parking space and cold drink stalls are usually available. The Luak Bay Esplanade is also accessible by bus.
This is Miri City's first recreational park and it is still very popular with the locals. About 10 minutes drive from the City centre, Taman Selera encompasses a land-filled pier that extends out into the sea for a different view of Miri's coastline and glorious sunsets. Available amenities include a children playground and the open-air Taman Selera seafood centre where you can enjoy excellent seafood cooked the way you like. (Your hotel front desk staff will gladly assist you with directions and transportation needs).
If you feel the urge to work on your handicap, check your strokes, or simple putt a few holes on the green, Miri boasts two golf courses of international standing (each about 20 minutes drive from the City centre). The Miri Golf Club and the Eastwood Valley Golf And Country Club are both open to visiting golfers.
The Miri Reef in the clear waters off Miri's coast are an exciting and accessible diving destination. You will se for yourself why seasoned divers consider the magnificent marine life and coral reefs near Miri to be amongst the world's finest - some situated a mere 15 minutes boat trip from the City. Popular diving sites include Anemone Garden, Grouper Patch Reef, Atago Maru Wreck, and Seafan Garden; The Luconia area equals any top diving site in terms of diversity and visibility. You can contact Tropical Dives and Fish Eye Charter about diving gear, day trips and longer excursions.
Lambir Hills National Park
If you are feeling a little adventurous, how about some walking tracks and cool waterfalls in one of the world's most biodiverse rainforests? Only 30 minutes drive from the City centre, Lambir Hills National Park is an ideal day-trip soft adventure getaway; camping sites and chalets are also available for overnight stay. (Public buses heading for Batu Niah and Bintulu passes the front gate of Lambir Hills).
Niah National Park
It's not everyday that you will get to see a significant piece of human civilization history. A mere 1.5 hours drive on good roads from Miri City, Niah National Park is one of South-East Asia's most important prehistoric sites. The Niah caves contains some very ancient artifacts and rock paintings that embellish the cave walls. Organized bus trips to the park are available.
And if you also wish to experience first-hand the unique native cultures of Sarawak and see the everyday life of the local native communities, there are numerous longhouses near Lambir Hills and Niah you can visit.
Loagan Bunut National Park
The "shrinking lake" Loagan Bunut gives its name to the park. During the dry season (February to June), you can walk right across the dry mud flats of this popular bird-watching site. Wildlife activity changes with the seasons and there's usually plenty of it to see. The drive from Miri City to Loagan Bunut National Park generally takes about 3 hours by four-wheel drive vehicle.
Gunung Mulu National Park
If you are planning for a longer stay in Miri, this world heritage site is an excellent getaway that's very much worth visiting. White tamods for its impressive cave complex, the biodiversity and scenic beauty of the whole park - which also includes rock pinnacles and a Canopy Skywalk (the world's longest tree-based structure) - are just as breathtaking. Gunung Mulu National Park is only 25-minutes flight away from Miri City; regular flights are available from Miri City's International Airport. Park guides and bookings are usually organized by tour operators. Comfortable walking shoes and bottled water are recommended for all park visits.
Food & Entertainment
Miri City offers a good range of choices if you want fine dining that perfectly combines first class food, elegant atmosphere and excellent service. Whether you are planning an evening of celebration or romance, or you would like to talk business over a five-course dinner accompanied by fine wines, there is a number of restaurants in the City that are most likely to meet you expectations. It is generally advisable to make reservations in advance.
Pub & Lounges
While your hotel is likely to have a bar or lounge to hang out, Miri City is also very well supplied with entertainment and nightspots. If you want to croon the night away in a fancy private karaoke lounge, or have a quiet sundowner at day's end, or share a stiff drink with your business partners, there are plenty of pubs, karaoke lounges and nightclubs for you to check out in the City.
From Sarawakian umai (tangy, marinated fresh fish), to Malay nasi lemak and satay, to Indian roti canai and nasi briyani, to Chinese dim sum and kolok mee - to name just a few, you have a unique opportunity in Miri to sample a wide range of local and regional dishes and delicacies at very reasonable prices. And Ramadhan food stalls are additionally set up everywhere for buka puasa (breaking of fast) during the holy month of Ramadhan. Day-and-night hawkers, food courts and food stalls are abundant all over the City. Areas worth checking out: North Yu Seng Road, Permaisuri Road, Saberkas Commercial Centre (on weekends only), Taman Seroja, Taman Selera and last but not least, the City centre itself.
If you are in the mood for a more international dining experience, there is a number of selected restaurants in the City specializing in specific national cuisines, such as Italian, Korean, Siamese, Indonesian, and Japanese. All over the City, there are also numerous fast food outlets and cozy road-side cafes (along North Yu Seng Road or Pelita Commercial Centre amongst others), if you are simply looking for a quick and affordable Western- or Eastern-style meal.
Places Of Interest
Taman Awam Miri
Only a few minutes drive from the City centre, this creatively landscaped public park provides you with a pleasant environment for a family outing, or for some light walking exercise. Taman Awam Miri includes a botanical garden, an observatory tower, a suspension bridge, a well-equipped children's playground, pavilions and food stalls.
San Ching Tian Taoist Temple
You have the rare opportunity while in Miri to see one of the largest Taoist Temples in South-East Asia. Located in Krokop (about 10 minutes drive from the City centre), the San Ching Tian Taoist Temple was opened in 2000 and is cared for by Taoist priests. Visitors are welcomed (as a sign of respect, please dress appropriately).
Tua Pek Kong Chinese Temple
An important icon of Miri's early history, this is the oldest Chinese temple in Miri City. Located in the "Old Town" section of the City (at the junction of China Street and Jalan Bendahara, the Tua Pek Kong Chinese Temple was originally built in 1913 by Chinese migrants then working in Miri's recently-established oil industry. Visitors are welcomed (as a sign of respect, please dress appropriately).
Miri City Fan
Perfect for an early evening stroll, or if you just want to sit back and relax, the national award-winning Miri City Fan public park - located in the middle of the City - is a complex of elegantly landscaped parks, theme gardens and an open-air amphitheatre. And you can also check out local Sarawakian artworks in the Miri Library (Pustaka Miri) right next to it.
Transportation is definitely needed to get there, but it is worth it. Canada Hill is an excellent lookout point over the whole of Miri City and its coastline. You can also see Malaysia's very first oil well - the "Grand Old Lady" - and visit the brand new Petroleum Science Museum, right on the hilltop.
It has pretty much everything you want to buy for family members and relatives, at reasonable prices - books, movies, music, watches, footwear, clothes, household items, and so on. Bintang Plaza has many shops and also houses a Cineplex, a bowling alley, an archery centre and a food court.
Boulevard Shopping Complex
With more than 80 shops, a post-office, a hypermarket, a departmental store, a bank and a money-changer, the Boulevard Shopping Complex is a very convenient one-stop destination for all your shopping needs.
With 120 stores spread out over four storeys, Imperial Mall includes a hypermarket and a departmental store, and offers a well-balanced selection of retail outlets, food centres and banking facilities. It is a convenient one-stop destination for all your shopping needs.
This shopping complex is usually considered by younger crowds as a "cool" place to hang out. With various eateries, shopping outlets, a departmental store and a video arcade, Miri Square generally offers a more relaxed and "laid back" shopping experience.
If you simply feel like walking around the City to see what's on offer or to take some great snapshots, places worth checking out include: Miri Waterfront, Bintang Jaya Commercial Centre, Boulevard Commercial Centre, Pelita Commercial Centre, Beautiful Jade Centre, Tamu Muhibbah, E-Mart Commercial Centre and the "Old Town" section (especially in China Street and High Street).
There's no better place to go to if you are looking for something unique to purchase and bring back home as a souvenir - such as Orang Ulu trinkets and hats, Penan baskets, Iban mats and tapestries. Located in the City centre, at Jalan Brooke, all of Sarawak's native handicrafts can be seen under the one roof of the Miri Heritage (Khazanah Miri). Craftsmen and women are happy to chat with visitors and explain the details and significance of their crafts, while carrying out their handiwork.
Video: Having Fun In Miri
- ↑ Bernama.com
- ↑ MiriCommunity.net Cultures forum
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 Miri Your New Destination In Malaysia August 2003 Publication, page 3
- ↑ Department Of Statistics Malaysia 2009